You may not like me much as I tell you about my life choices as of late.
I have hovered over PUBLISH for like a month now but I feel this is the best thing for myself and others who struggle with this affliction.
Telling you; “It made me feel good, so I kept doing it” won’t suffice either, I’m sure but I know we have all felt the “good feeling.”
That warm tingle after a glass of wine?
The feeling of accomplishment and self-assurance after a big shopping spree?
Or maybe the satisfaction that comes after eating your favourite foods?
Now imagine a prescription after a routine surgery making you feel absolutely indestructible?
Then having it turn into almost a decade of back and forth to hell?
That is the Agony and the Ecstasy.
In the beginning, my pain was very real. I had 4 impacted, infected wisdom teeth that needed to come out but not until the infection went away.
No one asks you if you have ever had real, emotional pain during your life.
It’s all on a scale of 1-10 how intense do your physical symptoms feel.
This was in 2011, during the climb of my Banking career. I refused to let this stop me from working so while taking the antibiotics, I was also given a hefty loft of Percocet to go along with it.
It was heaven; fucking heaven.
I felt so good, everyday for that month and a half of endless refills. I didn’t feel high – I felt on top of my game.
No longer did I suffer from anxiety or worry as I had since a child. The emptiness I had felt since age 7 after my dad died, was gone too.
I never took too many, never nodded off or did something stupid – so no one knew.
In fact the opposite happened; people were like “Wow, how do you function at such a high level?”
I balanced a career, household and impending wedding from 2011-2013 all while popping pain medication meant for patients who just had surgery.
It made me feel good so I didn’t stop. If there is a will, there is a way and I found the way.
I managed to clean up my act for over a year; just shortly after my wedding in April 2013.
I did this because I was about to turn 30, my husband wanted kids and I truly wanted them too.
It took awhile for that to happen, probably from the intense detox my body had to go through but it finally happened in December 2013.
Our first daughter was born in September 2014.
I had decided to return to work early; like super early – 4 months later.
I could and I couldn’t handle it.
If I had the pills, I could. If I didn’t, I couldn’t.
Finally, my husband figured out what was happening about 6 months after I returned to work.
He helped me fix it then but we never sought real help or told anyone. He wanted to protect my dignity which I appreciated but this was much bigger than both of us.
But Without them; I felt like I was tired, mentally sluggish and irritable. I loved my daughter but hated the stress of no sleep, constantly worrying about what to do and of course, balancing it all with a career.
This sobriety did not last long, only a few months. Again, no one knew or saw the signs. I am a high functioning addict; I won’t let you see those signals.
Of course once you have one baby, the talk of another comes just about 2 years later.
It was time to clean up my act again and I had researched a method online called the “Thomas Recipe.”
I did this a week after running out of pills during a family vacation to Florida which became so physically hellish from withdrawal, I came home early – by myself.
My addiction was starting to control every aspect of my life; I couldn’t even go away with my family. That was a huge eye opener for me and my withdrawal/detox lasted almost two weeks.
Then I found out I was pregnant again, due in April 2017. Our daughter was born in March.
Now you are probably thinking; “How could you have kids when you are an Addict?” Or “You don’t deserve your kids.”
Again, your perception of a drug addict is maybe what you see in movies or on TV.
In real life, using opiates becomes so normal you do not even get “high.” Your body adapts so quickly that it’s no longer something to make you feel good but rather something you take to avoid feeling sick.
Withdrawal is hell. It really is.
It is just hell on Earth and when you have two young kids, it becomes easier to continue using pills as our way to cope because the alternative is either going away to rehab for weeks or trying to detox on your own with everyone around.
That is insane to do unless you have real help.
I have not been able to commit to sobriety fully as I chose to live life the way any other 34 year old does; get married, have a family, career.
No one wants to admit to themselves or others that you have a serious addiction and you probably need to stop your life, leave your family to recover. So you just keep doing this endless cycle of self-destruction no matter what the cost.
There is also somewhat of a denial factor; that I can fix this on my own and I don’t need any help.
My most recent relapse began shortly after my 2nd daughters birth in March and this would be what people refer to as “end-stage addiction.” This is the time where you either recover or you succumb to the battle.
This has proven to be my hardest battle yet. With two little kids and a new job, I was drowning.
On a daily basis, I was taking enough pain medication to kill the average person because I had built up a tolerance and completely functioning normal. This fucked up life had become my normal and without it I could not function. Without it I would be violently ill for several days.
No longer could any lie cover up what was happening. People knew this time and the push to get help was strong but help doesn’t just come when you ask for it.
As the Opiate Addiction epidemic wears on, the health care field is a little behind. Unless willing to pay thousands of dollars, rehab was a 9 month wait at least.
Addiction programs were at least 3 months; I finally got into one but this was on an outpatient basis.
My addiction by now was so strong there was no real way to break it based on my own willpower so in January 2018, I went on Suboxone which is a medication used to treat addiction.
And then I found out I was having a 3rd baby; not planned as I mentioned but nevertheless wanted.
The medication I take to control addiction is what needs to happen right now as I am still vulnerable to relapse – pregnant or not. It’s not the opiates that hurt the baby, it’s the ups and downs of withdrawal. If I am in withdrawal, so is the baby.
Being pregnant has been a blessing in disguise as it catapulted me to the top of a waiting list for a 6-10 week in-patient rehab which I will attend in July.
Yes, I will have to leave my girls but if I don’t do something, I will leave them anyway somehow and I lost a parent at 7 years old, I know the everlasting effects of that.
Its been a hard long road to sustainable sobriety and I have hurt many that I love along the way. The shame and guilt has been enough to keep me from sobriety because it has been hard to face what has happened.
Only time and work can save me now but I have to do it somehow. I have three little copies of me now who look up to me and I don’t want them to ever feel like I chose opiates over them.
I posted this after a long consideration; I deleted it a few times even but ultimately if this happened to me, it’s happening to someone else.
I’ll keep my readers up to date on how things are going but be prepared for a long absence in the next few weeks.
As always, I’d love to hear from you.
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians.